Three Rivers All-Stars to host state championship
For the first time at the junior little league level, the Three Rivers All-Star team will host the Colorado Junior Little League State Championship, July 16-19 at the Glenwood Springs Middle School baseball field, which is home to the Demons’ high school baseball team.
“It’s big in a couple of ways,” Three Rivers head coach Scott Fitzwilliams said. “One is that we get to have the hometown crowd and fans back us. The process and planning that goes into it is a lot of work, so we want to make it a special experience for all the kids that come here, so that’s exciting. The other thing is that I’ve been with this group for awhile, we’ve come close before and competed really well, so I think this is the year that I think they can get over the top. This group continues to physically improve; it’s a big group as far as physical size. They’ve matured physically which has played a factor on the field. If they play to their ability it’s going to be fun to be a part of.”
Made up of players from Aspen, Eagle and Glenwood Springs, the Three Rivers All-Star team won the right to host the state championship tournament — which is double elimination — after knocking off the Fruita All-Star team at the District 1 championship, July 6, 25-0.
The 13- to 15-year-old All-Star team has been playing together since the first week of June following the end of the regular season in the Three Rivers league. At the end of the regular season, players were nominated by coaches before then going through the selection process.
For a majority of the players on the 12-man roster, this experience of playing at an All-Star level isn’t anything new for them, along with head coach Scott Fitzwilliams, who’s been part of the All-Star process for the last four years.
Members of the Three Rivers All-Star team include: Cole Houston (Glenwood), Rio Kauffman (Glenwood) Kaid Nieslanik (Glenwood), Sam Fitzwilliams (Glenwood), Dylan Albright (Glenwood), Jace Luck (Glenwood), Ash Stolley (Glenwood), Jack Pevny (Aspen), Joey Beveridge (Eagle), Jake Ticer (Eagle), Dillon Flaagan (Eagle) and Garrett Anderson (Eagle).
In fact, a core four of the All-Stars in Beveridge, Fitzwilliams, Kauffman and Ticer have won the district championship with TRLL All-Stars for three years straight now.
“I don’t know if you can be a veteran player at the age of 14, but I’ve had the same group of All-Stars for four years now,” Fitzwilliams said. “There’s a core group of them that have been playing together in All-Star tournaments for four years. This is a very experienced group of players. Most of the boys have had several years of All Star experience, so they should handle the pressure well. We have good depth at pitching, and the team plays great defense.”
The winner of the tournament will then head to the regional tournament in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where it’ll compete to head to the junior little league World Series in Taylor, Michigan, Aug. 14-21.
Outside of the Three Rivers Little League team, the three other teams making the trek to Glenwood for the tournament are the Sherrelwood (Boulder Area) Little League, Durango Little League and Arapahoe Little League All-Stars. Durango is the defending state champions.
One thing to watch with Durango is the No. 6 decal on the side of their hats. Durango is the home of the late Blue Angels pilot, Capt. Jeff Kuss, who tragically lost his life in a crash in Nashville earlier this summer.
The No. 6 represents the tail number that flew on the back of Capt. Kuss’ F-16 during his time as a member of the Blue Angels.
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